First things first. No, the beer at NLand Brewing Company doesn’t taste like Coors Light, even though the owner’s last name is Coors, and yes, he’s part of that family.
And no, Doug Coors doesn’t have much to do with the actual brewing at the new brewery, located inside the gates of the massive surf park on Highway 71 east of Austin. He’s handed that responsibility over to Todd Henry, a local brewer who honed his beer-making chops at places like Lovejoys Tap Room & Brewery and Independence Brewing Company.
“Coors is a macro brewery, and we’re still doing it craft,” says Henry, who took an hour from manning the big shiny vats of lagers and ales yesterday to explain the concept behind his beer. “They’re going to spill more beer this year than I’m going to make.”
NLand unveiled its brewery last month. Right now, the venue is pouring five different beers at the surf-themed patio bar overlooking a 14-acre lagoon, where beginners and experts alike cut across a man-made wave that rolls across the surface every 2 minutes. He’ll add another five in the next few weeks.
On Thursday, I sampled Off Leash IPA, NLand Pale Ale, Peach Party Wheat, Fun Beer, American lager. My fave? The pale ale. I was pleasantly surprised by the Peach Party, too. It didn’t pack the hit-me-in-the-face wallop of peachiness that I feared, but rather a subtle hint of fruit.
Also, the guacamole from the adjacent restaurant, Blue Prairie, is quite good.
For now, NLand Brewing Company is only selling beer on tap – no bottles or cans. And the focus is on beers that go down easily on an afternoon spent surfing.
“They’re all light in body,” Henry says. “They’re mashed to be light and crisp, not full bodied.”
The IPA uses Citra and El Dorado hops for a tropical profile. The pale ale features Cascade and Centennial hops for a citrus/grapefruit profile. (Pro tip: Surf first, drink beer later.)
This weekend, the NLand brewery and two other breweries along the Highway 71 corridor are offering specials.
NLand Surf Park is offering a two-for-one surf special for morning sessions through Sunday, and pints of NLand’s American Pilsner for $2 at the brewery. (Other pints are $6.) At Live Oak Brewery down the road, smoke lagers are on special for $1 off on Saturday and Sunday. And St. Elmo Brewing Company is offering $2 Kolsch beers today, plus a free live show by Cowboy Diplomacy at 8 p.m. It’s hosting an Octoberfest event from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.